WOMANISM + CULTURE
Let’s Not Shame Black Women for Strengths or Weaknesses
Whoever said lightning never strikes twice failed to consider what life was like for Black women. Whether at home, at work, or in academic settings, racism and sexism create a dangerous storm for Black women to navigate through.
While some insults are blatant, some are more subtle. The strong Black woman trope, for example, acts as an underhanded compliment. While having superhuman strength sounds like an asset, it furthers a dangerous narrative. Namely, that Black women do not need help.
We Must Make Space For Black Women To Be Delicate and Vulnerable
When people assume you are strong enough to move mountains, no one will come to your aid. They believe it’s okay to pile on responsibilities and expectations without end. Yet, Black women can be just as delicate, fragile, and vulnerable as other women.
When Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles stepped away from their athletic events for their mental health, they took a lot of flack from the public. Some people calling them weak. As someone immersed in psychology literature, I find their critiques appalling. When Osaka and Biles stepped away, they embraced self-care in a healthy way. Their bravery created a culture reset, where we can have open discussions about mental health.
Black women do not owe anyone back-breaking strength. We are human beings and that means we can feel overwhelmed at times. Society needs to normalize stepping away.
Let’s not shame Black women for their strengths or weaknesses.
Society Views Black Women As Anomalies
Society views Black women as a social anomaly. They are seen as too strong to be feminine and too weak to be Black men. Folks often fail to realize how this impacts Black women and girls. Our struggle is different. That’s why Black women take a more comprehensive approach in the pursuit of equality. We are conscious of the benefits of inclusivity.